October 5 - 28 December, 1930
WILL TAKES A HISTORY LESSONWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I get through the mail. Arthur Brisbane and I have been having a good natured kidding through the papers about Russia.1 Arthur kinder believes that Russia should be recognized, and me I don’t know whether they should or not. Lords, that’s a Diplomat’s business not mine. I am not getting Diplomatic wages. I am only getting acting wages. They are in a position to do quite a little trade with us, so if you want to base everything on a purley dollar and cents basis why we better not only recognize ’em but go out and look for ’em.
But then we know that they spend a great deal of money on propaganda to ferment revolution, and that nothing would be so welcome to them as to read some day where everybody that had a clean shave and more than $2.50 cents had been blown up with a bomb, why then you kinder wonder if it’s good to deal with folks that don’t wish you any better than that. But that’s got nothing to do with it, what I am getting at is the interesting letters this fellow Brisbane writes. I am going to show you one he wrote me that I just got yesterday. I don’t think he will mind me publishing this, it’s personal, but not too personal for me to collect my weekly fee on, especially when it is better by far than anything I could write.
My Dear Rogers,Now wasent that a fine letter. You know he is a great fellow. I wish you all could know him personally, along with his uncanny grasp of things he has got a lot of humor, there is many a sly laugh imbedded in his sermons on many subjects. Now he is sincere about this Russia thing too. He does know enough about it to know that they are going somewhere, and we better watch out while they are on the way. I think on the other hand that he has kinder been Propagandered on ’em, and he has perhaps got the brighter side, for they were a pretty seedy looking outfit when I visited them in 1926. Course they might have changed a lot. We have. Nobody would ever thought we would be walking on our uppers to have looked at us in 26. Why we had a gold mine and thought it couldent run out. Now he is a smart man, and I am going to take his advice, and really give a little more serious thought and time to see what they really are doing, for Lord knows we all want to see ’em make it go, for if they can make it better for everybody, instead of just for a few why they will have practically revolutionized the World. But all that Cato, and Carthage, and Persia, and Greece, and Macedonia, and Louie the sixteenth, and “Rein” and all that was lost on me. He was getting a long way from Russia telling about all those old Birds. But the Rascal can quote anything. And I guess he is right, anyhow I havent got time to look it up. Any man as high salaried and busy as he is, that will sit down and take his valuable time to write my Sunday article for me, I am not going to find any faults with it as to facts. I will disagree with him every day if he will write my articles for me. Anyhow if I ever answer him, I can’t talk about those old fellows. I will have to refer him to, Senator Grundy, Al Capone, Tom Heflin, Aimee, and just the ones that I know.4 But anyhow Arthur, I am much obliged to you, and I will take care of Russia from now on.
Now that I have established your credit as a multi-millionaire, and that you have destroyed mine by making me out in the public prints as destitute, which by the way I regret to say is an extremely accurate description, let us talk seriously about Russia. This Country including its brightest intellects, even your own, fail to appreciate the importance of what is going on in Russia.
You know that when Louie the sixteenth came back from shooting at Fontainebleau on a certain 14th of July he wrote in his diary “Rein,” meaning in the French language, “Nothing.” He hadent shot anything, and he simply wrote down that nothing had happened. But that was the 14th of July on which the Bastlie was destroyed, and later as a consequence of that “Rein” day, they just casually chopped off his head.
The King of Persia asked, “Where is Greece?” and said to his royal remembrancer, “Remind me sometime to go down and destroy that little Country.” His descendants learned about Greece when Alexander came from Macedonia with 30,000 men and sent him flying to his death, went through his line of war Elephants and took his Country.
All of which leads up to the fact that Will Rogers should study and analize, and understand Russia, not dispose of it with a wave of a hand like some foolish Wall Street Broker who buys Karensky Bonds and bellyaches because they are not paid.2 We dident pay the bonds issued by the South.
I have no doubt that the Russian experiment will fail eventually, being based on pretense of unselfishness and brotherly love, which have no existence among human beings.
But its experiments in Industry, in world competition, and efficincy may cost some of the old Capatalist civilizations dear, if they ignore it. Alexander’s Empire fell, dwindling down to the Cleopatra and Mark Anthony foolishness, but not until he had put an end forever to the old Persia. So you ought to warn your readers to not underate Russia. Many years ago when you was a little Boy, (Thanks for that kind compliment Arthur) I told Klaw, Erlanger, Frohman and Brady that someday Movies would sweep the country and be in every town.3 They thought I was crazy. Well look and see.
Now you take old Cato with his “Carthage must be destroyed” and keep saying every day at the end of your “piece” in diamond type, “Watch and beware of Russia.” This is talked into my phonograph in my automobile on my way in from Long Island to New York, hence the length.
1For Arthur Brisbane see WA 334:N 5.
2Alexander Feodorovich Kerensky, Russian revolutionary leader who served briefly in 1917 as prime minister in the first revolutionary government; overthrown in November 1917 by the Bolsheviks.
3Marc Klaw, American theatrical producer, active from 1881 until his death in 1936. Abraham Lincoln Erlanger, American vaudeville and theatrical producer; former partner of Klaw. Daniel and Charles Frohman, American theatrical producers and managers. Charles, the younger of the two brothers, became known as “the Napoleon of the Drama.” He lost his life when the Lusitania sank in 1915. William Aloysius Brady, American theatrical and motion picture producer and talent manager; sports promoter.
4For Joseph R. Grundy see WA 332:N 3; for Scarface Al Capone see WA 336:N 9; for Tom Heflin see WA 330:N 3; for Aimee Semple McPherson see WA 344:N 6
IT’S ANOTHER OFF YEARWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. See where Henry Ford is prowling around over in Europe, and he gets tons and tons of mail and it’s addressed to him as “his Highness Henry Ford.” They think he is King over here. Well he is not exactly what you might refer too as one of our menial Subjects. Over in a Museum in Berlin they have the first car made in Germany, and perhaps the World, for it was made in 1885, it only had three wheels. It was the “Benz” made by Karl Benz.1 But up to going to press he has not been able to get it. Germans wouldent take his check I guess. But he did buy two old watches, and a new hat.
Was you ever through that place in Derborn where he has all the old Vehickles stored? If you rode in your young days in old wagon, or sled, or a buggy and have in your old years of reminencing wondered what become of it it’s right in Henry Ford’s shed. I never saw in all my born days as much plunder as there is in there. Old thrashing Machines, dozens of ’em, old saw mill engines, old fire Engines, Old Handsom Cabs. Everything under the sun that ever dragged one person from one place to another is in there, so I can sure imagine how he must have wanted that old crate.
Can you imagine the excitement he must cause over there? For he is the one man in America that they have an idea what he makes and what he does, and I imagine that his retinue is about one half of what a second rate Movie Star would have traveling over there. I doubt if he has a Secretary with him.
Oh yes, and then we just been reading where the Russians turned down some kind of an order of Tractors. If they did turn down that order of a thousand Tractors as we heard they did, (They were Ford Tractors) why I guess that will cut his trip short, for that would be a pretty hard financial blow and he couldent afford to be prowling around over there then, as it was on the profit and expectation of that order that he made the trip.
Well sir before you know it there will be another election along to pester us. What they have those things for nobody has ever been able to tell. It’s just to distribute the jobs around so one man won’t have it all the time. Most of the men that are in are trying to stay in and all that are out are trying to get in. This is what they call an off year. What they mean by that is everybody is running but the President.
These off years the Democrats generally make a pretty good showing, and this fall looks like their chance to get a gang of Guys in the Senate and House. Of course they will offset what advantage they have by splitting among themselves, on the wet and dry plan. They will make that an issue when it’s only a habit.
Funny race up in Massachusetts. They dug up a fellow named Coolidge, an Irishman, and a Democrat.2 He used to be Mayor of Fitchburg, along when Calvin was Mayor of Northampton. They claim the fellow is no kin to Calvin. But I know one time up in Vermont I was playing a town, I think it Rutland or somewhere, and in my audience that night, I had been tipped off was a first Cousin of Cal’s and he was a Democrat, and I had a lot of fun kidding with him. Met him afterwards and he was a dandy fellow. I don’t know how he got strayed off from the herd while they was all going orthadox. He, (this fellow Coolidge) is running against William Butler, an old friend of Mr Calvin Coolidge’s.3
Oh yes and this other Coolidge that’s running is a wet! Imagine a wet Coolidge! Nature does produce some queer angles. Don’t know if Mr Coolidge will take the stump to help out his old friends or not. He is still working on his daily Column and can always say he is too busy. He is mighty schrewd and knows how to keep out of these hometalent fights. New York pretty near everybody is running as a wet. Both Republicans and Democrats know there is more wet votes than there is dry ones so they both jump that way. That shows right there that the whole thing is not on the level, for everyone of these public men come out just according to the way the wind is blowing where they live. Now some of them must have some personal opinion that is not just along with the majority of voters all the time.
New Jersey Morrow took a brave stand when it meant something.4 He wasent sure he was on the right side or not, but he come out against it. Not that it might have been the right thing to do, but it at least planted him as a man with his own opinion and he was willing to stand by it. But with all the messing and argueing over it at the election it won’t mean a thing. Nothing is going to be done about it any more than farm relief, or unemployment relief.
No matter who you elect to go to Washington, that hasent got anything to do with Prohibition, for it has to be repealed by the States, or the men that you don’t send away. Not during any of our lifetime will it be repealed for it takes two thirds of the States, not two thirds of the votes. Arizona could offset a State as big and as thickly settled as New York or Massachusetts.
Ohio they got so scared at their convention, they was afraid to do anything, so they just voted as favoring Prosperity and went home. They have a new term now called the “Weaslers.” The Weaslers are anyone that is afraid to jump either way. They feel that their state is still doubtful and they claim they havent made up their minds. So from now on you are in for one of the longest and most nonsensical arguments, all over something that they couldent change if they wanted too. Democrats will make quite a few gains and the Wets will perhaps make some, but the whole thing will mean nothing in our lives. All we do is just dig up their salary, and they all get the same price, Republican Democrat, Wet, or Dry. There is no way we can win.
1Karl Benz, German engineer and pioneer in the construction of motor-driven vehicles; founder of the automotive firm of Benz & Company.
2Marcus Allen Coolidge, Massachusetts manufacturer and Democratic politician; United States senator from 1931 to 1937. He was not related to President Calvin Coolidge.
3William Morgan Butler, Massachusetts lawyer, textile manufacturer, Republican politician, and former United States senator.
4For Dwight W. Morrow see WA 325:N 8 and WA 389:N 8.
WARS AND RUMORS OF WARSWell all I know is just what I read in the Papers. There is some pretty big stuff in the papers nowadays, but it’s kinder under cover. Did you ever kinder stop to figure it out, this old World of ours as a whole is not sitting so pretty just at the present time. Did you know that there is an awful lot of parts of Europe that is just sitting on what the old time Orator used to call a Powder Keg? Well it is.
We can’t pick up a paper that from one to a hundred don’t prophesy that Prosperity is just around the corner. But let me tell you that war is nearer around the corner than prosperity is. I don’t mean so much for us right here. But I mean over in Europe. That Russia is kicking up an awful lot of dust, and Germany is harboring a terrible lot of dissatisfaction, that Hitler has got ’em all stirred up over there.1 He made a speech last week in which he advocated the breaking of the Versailles Treaty, he said that it was made by a lot of old men, who most of them were about ready to die, and now here was a lot of young men grown up and they had to carry all this burden, for which they were not directly to blame, and that it was only a matter of time till they just wouldent do it. They would say, “Well come on France, what are you going to do about it? We cant be any worse off if you come in and take over our Country than we are now.”
Then those little Balkan Nations, they are like a little mess of stray Terriers anyhow, they just as well be fighting as like they are. This has been about the longest they have ever been between wars. I see the other day where Russia was just on the verge of invading Roumania. They have always had it in for them and figured they only had to take a couple of days rations and rounds of ammunition and go over and take that Country anyhow.
Russia and Poland are always on the verge of war. I remember when I was over in both countries in the summer of 26, why they were growling at each other like a couple of Fat Prima Donas on the same Opera bill. Then Italy is ranting around down there trying to pick up some more country and outlet for their population. France is watching them with an Eagle eye all the time, and that’s just what Mussolini wants, he had rather worry France than anything. France feels that she would have no trouble whipping them, but if she went down there to do it, Germany would take that opportunity to get at them and she just don’t want to have to take the chance. Then the Checko-Slovakians feel kinda hemmed in down their way, and of course the Turks, there is nothing that irks a Turk so much as peace.
Austria, they just been so bad off since the last war that they know there would be no way that war wouldent be welcome to them. Bulgaria has started all the rest of them, her and Serbia, and they don’t want to lose their reputations, they want to go down in history as having started all the big ones.
All this whole mess have no more love for each other than a litter of Hyenas, they either lost or gained territory during the last war, and they feel those that did gain that in another war they could grab off even more, and the ones that lost can’t see how they could possibly make that mistake again, and that if given a chance to play the same hole over again they could make it par the next time. I try to read all that all those old World Diplomats write over there, and there is not a line of it that is not in regard to another war. They just can’t write a prescription without predicting what will happen in the next great war. Their whole minds is on it, and from all that I read of them there is no two that seem to give anywhere near the same possible lineup. It’s like the National and American League if when time come to play the Worlds series they would just take all the players from all the Clubs in their League and then choose up and play the other side. No one knows where the thing will start or with who. No one knows how the line-up will be, for they don’t know who will be fighting who. Some of them that hate Russia like poisen will wait to join her on account of her strength. They will all want to wait and see who looks like the winner. They did that in the last war, quite a few staid out waiting for the best offer. Lots of pretty smart men think that is one of the biggest contributing factors to our present state of economic unrest, is that all big finance is afraid of what will happen in the near future, and they don’t know where it will end up. That’s why everybody is hanging on to what they got. There is more in the wind than just our little local condition over here. We got as much as we ever had, there is just as much money, as many to eat, and as many to feed, as many to buy. But still our conditions are uncertain. Why? Just because it’s things outside our own land that is worrying ’em. They know that signs are not right all over the World. Look at South America. When during our lifetime has there been as many disturbances at one time? No sir the whole thing is world wide, we are effected by it less than anyone.
If we keep our nose clean and don’t start yapping about somebody elses honor, or what our moral obligations are, we might escape it. But it’s going to take better Statesmanship than we have been favored with heretofore. But the way we are now we are mighty lucky to have nothing but a little business depression that is bothering us. But think what those other poor Devils are up against.
1Adolf Hitler, chancellor and Fuehrer of Germany from 1933 until is death in 1945. By 1930 Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) party had grown sufficiently to raise a serious challenge to the established German government.
TROT OUT THE POLO PONIESWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. I was just sitting here tonight reading a very beautiful Horse Magazine called, “Polo.” It is the issue that tells of the great Internation Match played between England and America, and it gives the very detail of each play, and also tells of the sale of the Horses after the match. You know I was just thinking it might be interesting to some of you to know something especially about the horses, for you don’t have to be a polo nut to be interested in good horses.
There was $335,000 worth of horses sold at public auction after the games. The British sold 48 head for $183,400. The Americans 36 head $73,200, and the Australians 25 head for $77,600. The British averaged pretty near $4,000 a horse. The Americans only about $2,000 and the Australians $3,000. The reason the Americans dident bring as much was the fact that most of the best horses played by the American team was privately owned and was not put up for sale at all. The ones sold were just the ones that were owned by the Polo Association.
The games are pulled off under the management of the US Polo Association. They guarantee the British team their Transportation and expenses and all which is taken out of the Gate receipts, and this year the Association had themselvs bought up quite a string of Ponies for our team. Heretofore they had depended entirely on the generosity of other players loaning their best horses to the big team. But this year they bought some themselvs, and sold them after the games. The Australians dident of course play in the big matches, but they had brought a great team over here who had created quite a fuss over in England. It was composed entirely of Brothers, four young men from 22 to 28, the Ashton Brothers, and their Father and Mother were with them.1 They had a very fine string of Ponies, were supposed to be a little smaller than our Boys have been playing. But they were very handy, and a lot of them were so well reigned that you could play them in a snaffle bit Bridle. Of course some individuals sold their Horses. Charley Wrightsman a fine young Sportsman and member of our Clubs out here on the coast was good enough to mount Eric Pedley, the sensation of the games, and a fellow Coast Player.2 Eric had gone back there to try out a time or two before in International matches, but he never had a proper chance for he wasent properly mounted, but this time Charley sent back twenty head just for Eric to play through the test Matches on.
You know a horse is really from 60 to 70 percent of the game. That’s about the ratio the Experts figure it. If you can’t beat a man to the ball why there is no use going. It’s speed, and more speed that counts with those big League fellows. Us Punks can lope around and have a lot of fun on a pack of old Hounds, but if we was among those fast fellows we would get run over.
Most of the Horses that make those big games are Thoroughbreds, or three quarters so. An awful lot of them are bread and raised on western ranches, and lots of them have run cattle. Polo has not only been a recreation or Hobby of a lot of rich people, but it’s been a God-send to the Horse business. It has done more to establish the breeding of good horses than even races have. Now it is a big business, and there is dozens of men just prowling all over the west buying likely “prospects” for Polo. The game is growing so fast and the demand for horses so great that it’s a real business now.
The Argentine has really furnished more horses to our International game than we have. They have been breeding good Horses down there for years. I was down there in 1901 and I saw well bread Horses on ranches then, while we was breeding nothing but just old range Ponies. I worked my way on a Stock boat to South Africa from Buenos Aires and we had on board a couple of hundred thoroughbred horses to restock a ranch in Africa after the Boer War.
White Slave an English bred mare played by the English brought $13,000 Bucks, that was the top price, bought by Laddie Sandford.3 Lady Luck, another English one, owned and played by Lewis Lacey, the great Argentine and English Player brought $10,000, and an Australian mare Isobel, $10,000.4 Course lots of them brought 1500, and a thousand, but even at that price you are sitting on quite an expensive hunk of horse flesh. And you can’t always tell the ones you give the more for may not turn out to be the best. It’s sorter what suits certain men. No two humans are the same and no two horses either. Nobody can look at a horse and tell what he is worth. He is worth to you just how good he is to you and how bad you want him and how well he suits you.
Why would any horse be worth the same to any two people? All the Colleges have taken up Polo now, and that’s a great boost for it, and this thing of it costing all this money is a lot of Hooey. You can back three or four old fifty dollar crow bates and have as much fun with the game as Jock Whitney, or Laddie Sandford, who each have perhaps from a quarter to a half million just in their Polo Strings alone.5 That half million to them is just like us buying an extra bowl of Chili. The boy on the sand lot gets just as big a kick out a home run as Babe Ruth, and the Dub Polo Player on a hired horse gets just as much kick out of making a goal as Hitchcock.6
It’s a great game, and it learns you to ride quicker than anything on earth for when you start hitting at the ball you forget about how you are going to stay on, you just do it unconsciously. Age don’t keep you from playing it. Arthur Brisbane’s Father in law, Steward Carey, he is in his seventys.7 Plays twice a week at Meadowbrook. I was 51 Saturday, and played Sunday, (after coming from Sunday School). I dident play good, but I had as much fun missing, as the others did hitting. I am going to play till my whiskers get tangled up in the horse’s tail.
1The Ashton brothers—James Hay, Robert R., Geoffrey, and Phillip—comprised one of the most famous polo teams in Australian sports history. Their father, James Ashton, a Sydney businessman, and their mother, Helen Willis Ashton, accompanied the brothers on their tour of the United States in 1930.
2Charles Bierer “Charley” Wrightsman, California sportsman and oil producer; son of Charles J. Wrightman (see WA 402:N 6). Eric L. Pedley, champion California polo player and one of the top American polo players in the history of the sport. Pedley and Wrightsman often competed with Rogers at sports clubs in the Los Angeles area.
3Stephen “Laddie” Sandford, New York City sportsman who owned one of the most important racing and polo stables in the country; sponsor of the famous Hurricane polo team.
4Lewis L. Lacey, Anglo-Argentine polo player who represented both England and Argentina in international competition. The Argentine team that he took to London in 1922 went unbeaten and later won the United States championship.
5John Hay “Jock” Whitney, American banking and mining heir and sportsman; owner of Greentree, a leading stable of racing and polo horses.
6For Babe Ruth see WA 332:N 4. Thomas “Tommy” Hitchcock, Jr., American polo player; foremost polo player of all time. He first gained international stardome in 1921 and remained outstanding for almost two decades thereafter. He was killed in World War II.
7For Arthur Brisbane see WA 334:N 5. Seward Carey, businessman from Buffalo, New York, and a member of the famous Meadowbrook Polo Club on Long Island.
STRANGE TALE OF A HARVARD CANNIBALWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers, or what I find out one way or another. Here a couple of weeks ago I wrote a Sunday Article and it mentioned the Donner Party at Donner’s Lake as being our only case of Cannibalism ever practiced in our abundant Country. Well then some man wrote me and told me of a case of a man named Packer in Colorado, and so I wrote a Daily prescription about him, stating the Judge’s charge to the Jury, and admonishing him for eating up all the Democrats in the County.1 If he had just eaten up a Republican why the Judge, (a fine old high type Democrat from Arkansaw) would have perhaps given the man a pension instead of a sentence. Well now we got that much straight.
We first wrote of the Donner Party, by the way if you havent read its history do so, it’s the most dramatic piece of life ever lived by a band of our brave Countrymen, and Women. Well then comes this other case of this fiend eating the Democrats, and these two cases must be all there is, or otherwise I would have heard of any others, for people love to write letters and tell you of any other cases, even of cannibalism.
Well now comes a long and very interesting letter from a man named N E Guyot, whose letterhead says Kingman Arizona, and he gives me the exact details of this last case.2 It seems he was in Colorado at the time. Now a lot of folks thought I was just kidding when I wrote of this Packer, and the story of the Democrats but it was the gospel truth. I certainly wouldent make light of a thing so serious as eating a Democrat. We are reaching a time in our existence when we need every one we can muster. We got to get some prosperity mixed up in our National existence, and as the coming November reaches the election day, we are coming out in numbers that will astonish the Natives. So I certainly was serious and was relating a historical fact. But wait, let Mr Guyot tell you, “It was in the Northwestern part of Colorado, San Juan mountains, ten miles from the Town of Lake City, on a plateau that is called on Government survey, ‘Cannibal Plateau.’ It was here that Packer through a severe snow storm murdered and devoured his Prospector companions.” Now those are some mere facts but here is the things I want you to get. It’s the history of this fellow Packer before he started in subsisting on the minority party. Packer was a Harvard Graduate, and graduated in ’66. He was a Law Student and started practicing in Boston. What I am getting at is that the only case of a person willfully devouring human flesh was by the Alumni of the great Harvard, so Harvard has not only produced the least understandable English in our fair land, but produced the only living Cannibal.
Then he was a Lawyer, that of course seems natural, their proffession is an offshoot of the cannibal proffession. They generally skin ’em alive. Packer did have the good taste to destroy ’em and get ’em out of their misery. Most Lawyers delight in seeing their victims suffer. It was the winter of 72 and 73. There was six Companions, and they were all well equipped with provisions. But in the snow they got lost from their Burros. Mr Guyot in his letter says that it was the first time, and perhaps the last that a Lawyer was ever permitted to accompany a band of Prospectors into the mountains. He always waits till they go out and find it, and then he gets his share by showing ’em where to sign their name. But Packer was afraid they would come back and find another Lawyer so he just went along with ’em. But ain’t that strange that a Lawyer is never allowed out with Prospectors?
Well it seems there was dissension from the start over allowing him to come to kill and eat him. But that dident go with the Judge and Jury. They knew no man could ever be so hungry that they would eat a Lawyer.
Now I was wrong in one little misstatement about the case, I had heard that he was hung. He was not. Colorado was then a Territory and the game laws did not protect Democrats. Even to this day in some States it would not be considered illegal to eat one. So they give him forty years in Canyon City Jail. That was a little over six years for each one he ate. You would have to eat at least ten or more to get life according to Colorado justice. He dident stay in there that long. Along in 99 when Civilization and the Denver Post hit us, why them and other papers started a campaign to release him. There was a tight election coming on, and them being Republicans, they wanted to let him out hoping he would eat up some more Democrats before November 4th.
Then they brought up that the Judge, Judge Gerry (originally of Arkansaw, and a Democrat by birth and breeding) had been biased in the trial, that no Democratic Judge should sit in a case, where it was Democrats that had been eat.3 The Editorials of the Denver Papers of that time all brought out this injustice. That it was a blot on the fair name of Colorado that a Harvard man shouldent be able to eat what he liked. Well anyhow the papers got him out, and the fair name of Colorado was saved, and since then they have never convicted, or even tried a man, for murdering, robbing or otherwise maiming a Democrat, Viva Democracy.
After this Packer fellow was released from the Jail, he went to Cripple Creek and inserted an advertisement in the local papers, asking for men with means to accompany him on a prospecting trip. Not a Soul went. Oh Yes! I forgot to tell you he was the Son of a missionary, and in his youth had spent some time in the South Sea Islands. That’s how he acquired this taste. A Missionary, a Lawyer, a Harvard Graduate, I want to tell you Illiteracy is a blessing.
1Alfred E. Packer, legendary “man-eater”; only man convicted of cannibalism in the United States (1883).
2N. E. Guyot, pioneer western prospector.
3Melville B. Gerry, early-day judge in territorial Colorado.
WELL, LIFE AIN’T SO TOUGHWell, all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I hear over the radio, and, as the papers haven’t had anything, and the static has been bad, ignorance is rampant. This week Bernard Shaw talked over the Radio. That was the high point of Radio broadcasting.1 He made the rest of us that sometimes use that medium, that I think we all ought to retire and just let him say it. You know he is a brilliant old Bird. He never says what you are looking for him to, but he always says what you are glad he did say.
Italy had another big wedding, one of the daughters married Boris of Bulgaria.2 They went away off down to some little town in Italy to marry, it seems there was a Justice of the Peace down there that she liked. It rained during the wedding, which means that it wont turn out very good. But it wouldent have turned out very good even if it hadent rained, for poor old Boris just got about another war to go.
He ain’t so old, only about 32, but there will be a war pretty soon, and of course no European war can be official unless Bulgaria is a participant, and then Boris will get thrown out on his ear. The first thing you know the King of Italy will be the Father of more deposed Queen Daughters-in-law than anybody.
Mussolini seems like he is going along pretty strong. Saw a picture in the Movies the other day where he had an awful mess of young fellows drilling and saluting him. France is still leary of him. She is afraid to go down and pounce on him, for fear Germany will hop on her during their chastisement of Italy. That’s why Mussolini traded this Queen to Bulgaria, was in case of any little national uprising in Europe, that Bulgaria would respect their Father-in-law and join Italy. It’s the oldest line of Hooey and Diplomacy in the world and Europe is to try to gain Allies by marriage.
They think if they can marry one of their Royal Family into another Royal Family that that binds ’em closer. Nobody couldent have been much closer bound together than Germany and England. They had been marrying each other like rabbits for generations, yet when the time come they turned against each other like Brothers.
So those poor devils of Royal parentage just go along, go where they are sent. I doubt if the gal had ever seen this Boris Bird, till he come prancing down the center aisle.
But we havent got any time to mess away our time worrying about them. What are we doing right here in the old home precinct? When you read this, our usual November Follies will have passed into the discard. Election day will be a relic, and we will wake up with some more of ’em. There is a good deal of excitement rather synthetic, but anyhow excitement, in some quarters, as to who will go on the Government pension list after this election. In New York State all is hopped over the Governor’s race. I don’t know just how Roosevelt will fare, but I sure do know he is a fine high class man.3 I suppose be lost a lot of support by not spanking Tammany and sending ’em to bed, but he is a fine man never-the-less, and I guess this other fellow is too, I don’t know him.
It looks like the Democrats will get in a bunch of new ones. They always do mighty well on these off years. We get ’em in on off years and get ’em out on Presidential years. But it give some people something to get worked up over, and get all excited over. It don’t mean anything. We been staggering along now about 155 years under every conceivable horse thief that could get into office, and yet here we are, still going strong.
I doubt if Barnum’s circus, or Hagenback’s Wild Animal Circus has housed as many different kinds of species as has been in our Government employ during its existence.4 Yet as bad as they are they can’t spoil it, and as good as they are they can’t help it. We are just a river flowing along. We have a drought year, and we have a flood year. They build dams to stop us, but we just fill up and flow on over ’em, so there is really nothing that can be done about us. We are just flowing to the sea. Corruption can’t retard us, and reformers can’t assist us, we are just flowing along in spite of everything.
A good man can’t do nothing in office because the system is against him, and a bad one can’t do anything for the same reason. So as bad as we are better off then any other nation, so what’s the use of worry.
1For George Bernard Shaw see WA 338:N 2.
2Boris III, king of Bulgaria from 1918 until his death in 1943. King Boris married Princess Giovanna, daughter of King Emmanuel II of Italy, on October 25, 1930.
3Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Democratic governor of New York from 1929 to 1933; president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945.
4For P. T. Barnum see WA 397:N 2. Karl Hagenbeck, German animal trainer and circus director, renowned for exhibitions of “wild” animals. After the death of Hagenbeck in 1913, his son, Karl Lorenz Hagenbeck, carried on the family profession until his death in 1948.
IT WAS A GREAT ELECTIONWell all I know is just what I read in the papers, and all I have read in the last week is about the Democratic uprising of November 4th. It was my birthday and the Boys of the party really did themselves proud in my honor. The Republicans were looking for a punch in the jaw, but not for a kick in the pants at the same time. Why there was men beat at this wake that thought they had a deed to their seat. We will kinder start in alphabetically with the disasters and take ’em in that order, starting with Illinois.
An old Democratic friend of mine J. Ham Lewis, who has red whiskers, and a green vest to match, used to be in the Senate away back during the days when we was fixing it so there would never be another war.1 If my Emily Post Etiquette book serves me right I think he is about the only Democrat in some distance to get a red whisker in that stately hall.2 And after all these years here he is going back. His facial adornment has shed from a Clara Bow red to a kind of a Henna gray, and the old vest has got many an egg spot concealed behind its pearl buttons.3 But Ham can curry one and bathe the other and he will make a new entrance into the old “Arena Del Toros.”
It wasent only that he got back in there, but it was the spectacular manner that he did it. The Republicans had their strongest Woman up against him, Ruth Hanna McCormick.4 She had spent a few hundred thousand in the Primaries, but evidentally forgot to spend any on the race. That would be like spending all your money in Taxi fare to go the ball game, but none to spend to get in after you got there. But Ruth made a mighty fine race, and maybe it’s just as well she is not in there. I don’t think a woman belongs in there. Not a nice woman anyhow. It’s funny how a smart Political Woman like her couldent have guessed right on the Prohibition thing. How anybody could go wrong on what Illinois would do is beyond me. Ham he won’t make ’em as good a Woman as Ruth would, but he will make ’em a good man.
Then continuing alphabetically we come to Oklahoma. Another old resident of the Senate got back after all these years. Our Blind man, Senator Gore.5 He used to be a fixture in there from our Country. Then when he happened to be able to see further than the mob during the war why he lost out; now when the mob has caught up with him, and they can look back instead of having to look forward why they send him back in there. That gives Oklahoma two Democrats, which is of course as it should be, for we are liberty loving people.
You going to hear an awful lot in the next few years about a man from South Dakota named Beulow.6 He is a Democrat and from South Dakota. Now that’s like a Zulu being discovered on the Behring sea. He is a comical old rascal, with a lot of humor and about twice as much common sense as humor so he will be out of place two ways in the senate. Watch him and remember his name, B-E-U-L-O-W and if he is to speak anywhere near you don’t miss him.
Course the old timers got back in without even opposition like Pat Harrison, and Joe Robinson of Arkansaw.7 They will be in the Senate when the Farmers get relief. Joe Robinson is mighty liable to be the Democratic Nominee in ’32. It will be between him and Franklyn D. Roosevelt, and they are both mighty fine men.8 Joe if they want a dry, and Roosevelt if they want a wet. But the wets seemed to kinder swamp everything at this meelee and are gaining strength every day, so in ’32 it looks like the wet Candidate will have the edge at the Nomination.
Still the west got a long way to go yet. You see those States that voted wet this time were ones that were known to be wet all the time, when you start voting on it all through the middle west and south you will find a different tale, so both Parties will be up against it as to just what to do in ’32. They will want to be wet for the wet voters and dry for the dry voters, and they won’t know which one has the most votes, and they will be busier than a Bird Dog trying to figure which way to jump. That gives you a pretty good line on Politics; their personal feelings have nothing to do with it, it’s which way will the most votes be. I believe a Candidate would go over Niagra Falls if he was sure the wind was with him.
1James Hamilton “Ham” Lewis, Democratic United States senator from Illinois from 1913 to 1919 and 1931 until his death in 1939; noted for his tonsorial splendor.
2For Emily Post see WA 330:N 5.
3For Clara Bow see WA 400:N 5.
4Ruth Hanna McCormick, Republican United States representative from Illinois from 1929 to 1931. McCormick, who failed in 1930 in a bid for a Senate seat, was the daughter of Ohio industrialist and politician Marcus Alonzo “Mark” Hanna and the widow of publisher and congressman Joseph Medill McCormick.
5For Thomas P. Gore see WA 402:N 7.
6Bulow (see WA 399:N 7) was elected to the United States Senate in 1930. He served from 1931 to 1943.
7For Pat Harrison see WA 350:N 6; for Joe Robinson see WA 368:N 1. 8For Franklin D. Roosevelt see WA 411:N 3.
HOW TO GET ON PAGE ONEWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. And about all you read is Murder. A Robbery, Another Murder, Another Robbery. Then a train hits a loaded Auto. (They never hit ’em till they are Loaded.) That’s why more people are not killed by a train is because there is so few really loaded auto’s. An Engineer is careful that way, he won’t hit a car with only one or two in it, he watches close and always calls his shots and gets a covey of ’em.
Then in between these above mentioned Columns in the Newspapers there will be a fellow in the home town that has just killed his wife and attempted to kill himself. That brings up another odd coincidence. Why is it that an attempted suicide that is going to kill somebody else along with himself, why is it they never miss the other party but they are poor shots on themselves? You would think as close as they are to themselves that they couldent miss. But they most generally do. They seem to be able to hit everybody else they shoot at but themselves.
Out here in Los Angeles the other day we had a fellow who wanted his wife killed and instead of killing her himself, and then missing himself, why he hired another fellow to do it, and what do you think he give him, $1.30. He admitted it, and the husband admitted it. That about holds the record for low wages. That’s a mighty poor ad for our Town when they are working for that kind of pay.
Murder by contract has always been a fairly well paid industry outside Chicago and New York. Of course there has been an over supply of men in that business, but in these outlying Villages it has always cost anyone pretty dear to hire someone for that type of work. But this old Boy just did it for $1.30 and all in dimes. AND THEY ARE GIVING HIM A TRIAL. A community that would go to the expense of trying a Bird like that why that’s about all we deserve. There is some things that go beyond the law.
Then in between all these items, along about Sunday and Monday the paper has to always leave space for Auto accidents that happen on the way home from Football games. It looks like the poorer the ball team the bigger the accidents. And I don’t care how big the score is the casualty list will be bigger. They run about two Coeds, and one student injured to each point made by the team.
Then you must always leave one Column on the front page for Prominent men to Predict Prosperity in. Maby it was a big Dinner, and Mr. “I’ll Fix Everything” is the Guest of honor. Maby he got rich selling “Motto Cards” or Machine Guns. But the Associated Press carries his prediction that “The trend is upward.”
Then there is always a Column for Russia for they will have been in some kind of devilment during the previous night. Last week they said that the World was plotting against them. Then named the men that have it in for ’em. Well they will get all their people excited over that, and that will be in the papers for awhile till somebody thinks of something else.
Brazil or the Argentine can’t stay on our front pages over a week at a time and then they have to have a pretty fair grade of Revolution to stick that long. We welcomed their incoming President up here this summer and when he got back home they did too. They welcomed him with another President. So now we find that we spent a lot of “Public Reception and dinner dough” on the wrong fellow. It ought to teach us something, never spend a dime on an elected President from any of those Countries till he is inaugurated. There is many a slip between the Poles and the White House in the Tropics.
Hitler over in Germany we have had his column pretty vacant here lately.1 He has just about run out of Gags. You just can’t stay on that old page continually, the strain is too great. You can’t think of enough things to do.
Mussolini has come nearer doing it than anyone we ever had during our time. He jumps up and slaps some country down with a statement more often than any other man that ever lived. He gets on there once a week or more, if he is going good. He keeps France so busy denying and denouncing that they don’t know what it’s all about.
Bernard Shaw can make the front page any time he wants to express an opinion about anything, from Einstein’s Theory, to the cultivation of Whiskers or Birth Control among Authors.2 He is the highest paid Author in the World, yet he has given away more free stuff to the papers than any man that ever lived. For everything he ever said was news, and everything any other Author even said was Publicity.
The poor old Editorial pages are just about passing out. Nothing that is not accompanied by pictures of the actual killing will interest anyone any more. The readers don’t want advice any more. That’s what’s the matter with this country; it’s been advised to death. An editorial might explain the right course for everyone to pursue, but who wants to pursue it? An instructive Editorial is kinder like the lines they used to have at the top of the old copy writing book. It was a fine sentence, and it sounded just like what you ought to do, but you just copyed it and went on.
A picture of Mary Garden getting off the boat is of more importance than what Opera she is going to appear in.3 Her and “Old Tack” out in Amarillo can get in an argument and make up and get the town more advertising than the low price of wheat can.4
Then you have to leave room in there some place for the “Columnist.” Pretty near every paper is afflicted with a mess of us. We are flourishing through a certain reign of insanity that perhaps won’t be permanent, and woe be to any of us who take the whole thing serious. I think even Mr. Coolidge knows that as soon as the Country is thoroughly adjusted that we will be in some essential line, with a smaller recompense but an easier conscience. But with all its faults the old Paper is our daily bread. Sometimes it’s burned, and sometimes not cooked to suit us but we got to have it everyday and its intelligence is always in keeping with its readers.
1For this and all further references to Adolf Hitler see WA 408:N 1.
2For George Bernard Shaw see WA 338:N 2; for Albert Einstein see WA 327:N 1.
3Mary Garden, Scottish-born operatic soprano who made her American debut in Thais in 1907. She appeared with the Chicago Civic Opera Company from 1910 until her retirement.
4Gene Alexander Howe, editor of the Amarillo (Texas) News-Globe from 1924 to 1935; writer of a popular column under the pseudonym of “Old Tack.”
A WORD ABOUT EVERYTHINGWell lets see what about the last “Fortnight.” You know there is another one of those things we got from the English. We used to dident know any more what Fortnight meant than an Einstein speech.1 But now we can just take a month apart and split it up into a couple or three Fortnights just like we had always been used to it. Then “Week End.” That’s another one we grabbed off from our British relations. “Week End” we used to think it referred to some dissabled extremity of the human body, and instead of naming the disease they just referred to it as the “Week end,” maby misspelling it purposely. But now we can’t hardly wait for Friday or Saturday to come so we can boast what we are going to do over the week end.
We not only stole the word from the British but the idea. Americans in the old days stayed over Saturday and Sunday, the same place they stayed on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, they stayed at home. We dident start prowling just because it was the last of the week. You used to love your home. You loved to spend time in it. You knew to travel about meant putting up with inconveniences, meeting a lot of people, sleeping in strange beds and you just dident like to go. But now sentencing a man to stay at home over a few “Week ends” is like sentencing him to Sing Sing. He must go away, “his work has been so confining.”
And you know come to think of it we nailed a many a thing from the British. We used to make fun of them because they had Busses on their streets instead of Street cars. Well here we are 25 years later adopting that very custom. A street car is getting to be a thing of the past, and all are looking for the Busses to ride on, and the same Double deck ones that we rave over were over there running when Cromwell and Shakespeare were about. Now we are getting around to their Five and six oclock tea. Course it’s not Tea here, but it’s the same Alabi that is used. You knew we take credit for being a lot faster than we are. We cop a lot of things and then the first thing you know we are claiming them as our own.
You know no Nation has a monopoly on good things, each one has something that the others could well afford to adopt. But that wasent what I started in to gab about at all, it all come about through writing unconsciously the word “Fortnight.” I wanted to run over with you what had transpired in the newsprints.
All I know is just what I read in the papers, and there has been a lot of Prosperity talk passed under the bridge since I last communed with you. Mr Hoover’s Commission that he appointed to find out if anyone was drinking, why they first upset the Country with a kind of a temporary announcement that they would recomend that they thought a modification would be about the right thing, then the next week they come out and said No they wouldent recomend a modification, that they would recomend a continuation of present drinking. They have been almost two years sampling stuff to really find out what the people are drinking. Well the people were drinking so many different kinds of things that it took the Commission that long to get around. They are going to turn in a “Joint” report. That comes from their late association. Then each one is going to be allowed to tell his own story in his own way, that will be known as a Minority report. What they said in the main report they can deny in the single report, it’s kinder like Double Entry Bookkeeping. The red ink is to deny what the black does. We have kinder forgot who was on this Committee outside of Mr Wickersham, and that’s one reason for wanting to turn in separate single reports, it will kinder get the other members before the public.2
Course Mr Hoover can’t do only what he is sworn in to do. People look to him to settle the whole thing, why he has been sworn to obey and enforce the laws to the best of his ability and that’s what he has done. I bet personally he wished that the whole mess was all so soused that he would never hear of ’em again. You know it ain’t right to tangle a President up in a social fight among ourselves. He shouldent be asked to settle Prohibition any more than he should the short dress problem. That’s up to the wearers, and this other is up to the Drinkers. He has got too many important things to do to be messing his time away with that. But we will await their report, for it will be interesting to know just what people are drinking, and if Mr Wickersham settles it, he will perhaps occupy the same position in this Country that Mussolini does in Italy.
1For Albert Einstein see WA 327:N 1.
2For George W. Wickersham see WA 344:N 1.
WHEN THEY HOLLER, GIVE ’EM A CONFERENCEWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. Been reading a lot about India lately on account of this Conference they have been holding in London. When India gets a little uneasy and unruly why England gives them a Conference. They invite ’em all to London and the King meets ’em, and they have a few public functions and they all wear their turbans and baggy silk pants, and all are allowed to make speeches, and the papers make over ’em, and they go home.
They come for freedom and go home with press notices. They are pretty near like American tax payers in that respect, just give ’em a little voice some time, and make ’em think they are getting some place and they go home happy. Well this last one in London was the biggest one in a long time, for the unrest was the biggest. Conferences are always in proportion to public disscord.
The King made a public speech to ’em just like he did for the nations at the Disarmament Conference last January. You know those English are smart. They know how to handle more different kinds of people than anybody. Now we can’t do that, that’s why we are no good as Colonizers. But Britain can go in anywhere and they got all the pomp and glory that most Natives like. Then they are smart enough to always make them think they are doing part of the management of their country themselves. When as a matter of fact they won’t be doing anything, but they can be made to look like it.
Now this Indian Conference, with over 50 Indian Princes, controlling over half of India, well for them to get to London and be made over by Royalty and the British Government why that just sits them off pretty for another few years. Course they are not looking for complete Independence for India, for that would do away with their own feudal power, for each one of those Babies where he comes from is the “Borah” of his hills.1 Bill on his native heath never had any more power than they do. Some of those birds rule over a municipality as big as one of our big States like New York. All the taxes and toll are paid to them individually, they don’t have to be bothered with an election every four years to see who is the head man. He is born the head man and stays “Him” till he passes out.
Some of ’em coming to London brought their wives. They not only kept them veiled, but when they went out through the lobby of the Hotel they had attendants one each side, back and front of them with a screen affair, where they could not be seen. If they went to a Theatre they had the box screened in so they could see out but anyone else couldent look in and see them. I remember seeing one of ’em at a Polo Game where her Husband, the Marajah of some kind of “Singh,” was playing and his wife was in a big Rolls Royce all boxed in like a furniture truck, and she had a peep hole she could watch the old Rajah caper around but nobody couldent look in and see her.2 This was a game over in London, but I can imagine what London is when there is about fifty Retinues of these there at once. Each one would try and naturally outdo the other, so they all brought a band of Coolies with ’em. They can wear more gold braid than a Movie King of a mythical Kingdom. Why I’ll bet their pajamas they sleep in looks like a Bull Fighter’s braided rompers.
India is full of casts. They got more Castes than we have Commissions. They got one caste that is called the “Untouchables.” They are not even allowed to let their shadow fall across one of the upper classes. We can’t imagine it over here for we just have two or three different ones, the Republicans and the Democrats. The Democrats have always occupied our lowest position. They could let their shadow fall anywhere, but in an elected official position. They were kinder like the “Untouchables.” They just had to live from pillar to post and eke out any existance they could find. But it looks like here lately the lower caste with us is coming to the front, and in London there was two Untouchables at the Conference with the others. So along about 1932 it looks like Serf days will be over and the lower classes will go to the top.
This fellow Gahndi wasent there.3 I think they got him in jail again. When there ain’t any more news from India why the English are jailing Ghandi. He is an odd kind of a duck. We havent got anyone over here to in any way compare with him. He is looked on as a kind of a Prophet. I guess Coolidge would come nearer fitting him in that respect than anyone else. Then he is a Preacher too, kinder like Bishop Cannon when he was feeling good and at himself, sorter combined Politics and preaching.4 But Ghandi always preached “No violence.” He always said agree to everything England wants, but don’t do it, sort of a synthetic resistance.
In build and physique from the looks of his pictures, we havent got anybody like him unless it is Will Hays.5 Bill is set up a good deal like Ghandi from the architectural standpoint. He has got a following a good deal like William Jennings Bryan used to have.6 They sure believe in him. We havent got anyone that has a following comparable to him here now. If either one of our “Classes” had one like him, they would run ’em for President. Well anyhow they dident take him to the Conference, he would have stole all the thunder from the gold Turbaned Rajahs.
Now Britain ain’t going to give them any more “Home rule” than we are going to give the Farmers relief. They will just have a big time and all go home, and use the old Alabi like we do with the Phillipines, “You are not ready for your Independence yet.”
When we got ours, if history ain’t an awful liar, we sure wasent in much shape to handle it. “You are hungry but you are not able to eat.”
1For William E. Borah see WA 337:N 8.
2Genga Singh, Indian maharaja, soldier, and sportsman; maharaja of the Bikaner state from 1887 until his death in 1943.
3Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Indian political and spiritual leader known as the Mahatma, or Great Soul; principal leader of the Indian struggle for independence from Great Britain, a goal finally attained in 1947.
4For James Cannon, Jr., see WA 335:N 15.
5William Harrison “Will” Hays, president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America from 1922 to 1945; known as the “czar” of the motion picture industry.
6William Jennings Bryan, prominent Democratic politician, known as the “Great Commoner”; thrice unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the presidency; United States secretary of state from 1913 to 1915. Bryan died in 1925.
CONCERNING MUCH HOOEYWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. Well I just picked up an old paper that had President Hoover’s speech that he delivered at the opening of Congress. You know it’s in the President’s contract that one of his duties is to deliver a Message to the Hired hands when they meet in session. It’s supposed to give them the “condition of the Country.” You see Congressmen and Senators are not supposed to know anything about the “Country” and they generally don’t, so the President issues his message. He starts out, “Substantial progress has been made during the year in national peace and security. Education and scientific discovery have made advances. Our Country is more alive to its problems of spiritual and moral welfare.” Now there is a mighty good opening paragraph, especially when you would think it would be kinder hard to see where we had got ahead much in the last year. But he found some mighty worthy things about us. I like that line “Substantial Progress has been made.”
You see it leaves a good deal to argue over as to just what constitutes “Substantial.” When a fellow is going to hire you and he ain’t going to give you much he always says, “I will give you a substantial stipend.” It’s a kind of a way of making it look like you are getting something and yet, you figure it out and you are not. But it was a mighty good word to use under the circumstances. It come in kinder like the old other White House word “Choose,” there was just no telling exactly what it meant. So this “Substantial” covers up quite a good deal of ground.
He says we have made some “Substantial” progress in Peace and security. Well if you got the Peace you have naturally got the security. He means that we got more peace than we did have, we will say a year ago. We wasent fighting anybody a year ago, and we are not fighting anybody now but ourselves, we are all laying it on each other. But it’s a kind of a “Substantial” blame. Of course we are nearer war than we were a year ago, for each day you live you are nearer it, for it’s in the future and you draw nearer it every day.
Now that brings us to Security. Now we havent done much along the security line, outside the dissarmament Conference in London, which wasent hardly able to be called “Substatial.” But Mr Hoover has done all in his power to try and further peace and at the same time leave us a Musket loaded in the corner at the same time. Well that’s as it should be. It’s all right to go to these Conferences. But it’s always well to come home and reload your gun after each one is over.
But we must get on down the message. Here we been all this time on the first paragraph. He says that education has made some strides. Well that’s pretty hard to say. I wouldent (and neither did he) call it “Substantial” strides. It’s awful hard to tell what education is. Lots of our people have learned a lot of things since last year. Now whether they was the things they ought to know will take a lifetime to find out. So I guess education has advanced. But I expect knowledge has gone back during the past year, at least we act like it.
He says that “During the last 12 months we have suffered with other Nations from economic depression.” Yes and we have suffered a lot alone too. In fact I would go even further than the President and say that we had suffered “Substantially,” or even “gross substantially.” You see that’s how a lot of people try to make us feel good is to tell us how bad somebody else is off. I don’t know what kind of a streak or complex it is in anybody that gives ’em a kind of a delight to know that somebody else has lost a leg along with you, and if they happen by chance to have lost two and you only one, why then your day is just complete. I don’t believe that I could get much nourishment to be starving in a room, and have the keeper come and say, “The other fellow has been starving two days longer than you have.” I still believe that I would be just as hungry as I was before. But there is some people that could just get fat on just nothing but such news.
Now he kinder tries to explain the cause of World depression, that’s where they all fall down. They offer every manner of different excuses. Why don’t some of ’em just say, “Boys I don’t know where this thing come from any more than I know where a Radio announcer springs from. If I did I would do something about it.” But No they go on explaining their Theories, and by the time they get through they have forgot how to settle it.
In the first place there is no reason to know where all this come from. If a snake bites you you ain’t gong to stop and study out where he come from and why he was there at that time, you want to start figuring on what to do with yourself right then. He however went on to show that we did have a lot of assets left, and was in pretty good shape.
They show that there is just as much of everything as there ever was, and all that. But they don’t tell that what’s the matter with us is the unequal division of it. Our rich is getting richer, and our poor is getting poorer all the time. That’s the thing that these great minds ought to work on. Not be figuring out what the cause of this depression was, but let us fix our taxes, or our government work, and our whole system so we can kinder keep it split up a little better. What we got now is “Substantial” unemployment, and that’s the thing that needs fixing. Never mind World Court, and Dissarmament, and all that Hooey.
LISTEN TO THE GRANDSON TALK!When your Grandchildren are sitting around some Penal Institution at recreation time, they will talk of the time away back when their parents and grandparents used to tell about a certain man that flourished from around 1920 to 1940 and from then on. Children will be as they are today, they will have to be taught who was President around all that era. But the same as we today remember Jessie James, and Paul Revere and a few of those without any particular aid from history, why we will remember this man. These confined Grandchildren of ours will say, “Yes we have great Coaches today, we have great Teams. But dad says every play they know was originally done away back in his childhood by Knute Rockne who founded Notre Dame.1 This Notre Dame was just another Stubblefield College. They cut down the tall grass, dammed up the creek, and made another one of those Indiana Institutions of learning that flourished on practically every quarter section throughout the State. Well it was going along, it had a few old Uniforms, and some secondhand Footballs. But they had never played any further away from home than you could make in a day Coach. On Sunday the results of their games would be listed along with Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, and Columbia, and all of that ilk. They had never made the headlines along with Alabama, Georgia, Northwestern, Army, Navy, and all the other Big-Shots. Well from what Grandad says, this Rockne blew in there, and went to school. He was a Swede, or a Norweigen, or a Dane, or some of those Ski Jumping Nations up in there. He dident know a Football from a footpad. But these Pumpkin seed Boys was kicking one around there and playing what they humorously referred to as Football. They let him play with ’em just for comedy purposes, and for a Swede, or a Norweigen, or a Dane, he turned out to be might good. Along about then they started throwing forward passes, so to have some more fun they got to throwing ’em to this Swede, or Norweigen, or Dane. Well instead of this Swede, or Norweigan or Dane dodging ’em, why he got to catching ’em, and Ski’ening over the line with ’em. Well then he graduated, for they won’t let you stay in one of these Schools but four years, no matter how little you know. They got a rule they make you graduate whether you want to or not. Then when they graduated him, then come the problem, what was he going to do? He hadent finished from Harvard so he couldent sell Bonds. He was just a Swede, or Norweigan, or Dane football player and there wasent a whole lot of market for a Football Player. That was back in the days when Football was a recreation and not a Racket. So he says to himself why can’t I coach? I have missed enough signals during my years on the team to entitle me to instruct others.
“So he found some boys that dident know much more about the game then he did, so he started coaching ’em, the first thing you know he was helping to coach Notre Dame. Well he dident think he was much of a Coach till he got to seeing some of the others. The head Coach got a job at what he thought was a real high Goal University, and Knute took over the team. Well from that day football left the red and started to making gains into the Credit, the black side of the Ledger. When the graduating class would receive their invocation, he would ask to say a few words to ’em, boys what is your aim through life? Why sir to make a living. No it’s not, it’s to send a football player to Notre Dame, that’s your life work. Send me a Football Player.
“BUT when the football player got there he knew what to do with him. He told ’em that football was a game of the head, and not of the feet and hands. Well it just wasent no time till Notre Dame had got out of the weeds, and raised their Scholastic standing a half dozen touchdowns, and you started reading about it. It wasent just a Buckwheat College, it was right up in the money. It was filling more Stadiums than any of ’em. He then originated the unique idea of playing a real team every Saturday, instead of about three a season. Then come his climax, as my old Gradparents have told me. He was a great Kidder. He was to play a game on the coast against their best, and their Sporting Writers had boosted their team up till it looked like practical death for Knute to even go on the field with ’em. Well he started in before they left Chicago, saying that his team dident have a chance, that they would be beat, as they had lost their only Star. Well on the Coast they fell for it, and when he got to Tuscon, Arizona to practice, why he was supposed to have lost another Star, a Mr. Mullins.2 The Sporting Writers come down to see who he was practicing in Mullins place and they noticed a No 31. They looked it up and it was a Mr Hanley.3 But when the game started a gent named Occonner was the starter.4 Nobody had ever heard of him, but nobody will ever forget him. Then the news leaked out that during this Arizona practice he had been wearing Hanley’s sweater. But no sporting writer had ever thought of that. Well he kidded ’em right up to game time, and even got the odds against his team. Well Gradpap says that when they kicked off Notre Dame got ahold of the ball and never give it back to the other side all day. But the thing that Gradpap laughed about was the way this fellow Rockne just kidded the pants off the whole Pacific coast from the time he left South Bend till he got back. Barnum Gradpap says in his balmiest days never made such a Sucker out of folks with his side show as this Knute fellow did singlehanded, outside of what his team did to the others.5 He even told ’em that next year they would beat him that bad. Well everybody was surprised to know that they would play ’em again next year. Nobody ever heard of the Kaiser wanting a return date.6
“But I have just heard Gradpa sit by the hour and tell some of the Komical things this Rockne did in his day. Yes sir, Gradpap says he is the one that made Notre Dame more famous than Oxford and Cambridge. This Swede, or Norweigan, or Dane, or Lithuanian, or whatever he is.”
1For Knute K. Rockne see WA 364:N 2.
2Lawrence “Moon” Mullins, star fullback for the Notre Dame University football team from 1928 to 1930.
3Daniel “Dan” Hanley, third-string fullback for Notre Dame University in 1930.
4Paul “Bucky” O’Connor, halfback for the Fighting Irish from 1928 to 1930. In a game against the University of Southern California on December 6, 1930, Rockne inserted speedy O’Connor at fullback to replace injured Moon Mullins and the inexperienced Hanley. In order to mislead USC, however, Rockne directed Hanley and O’Connor to exchange jerseys.
5For P. T. Barnum see WA 397:N 2.
6For Kaiser Wilhelm I see WA 363:N 1.
EUROPE TOO DEEP FOR WILLWell all I know is just what I read in the papers. Spain blowing up the way it did broke in for a lot of news. I was over there messing around in Spain about four years ago. Had a long chat with that Primo Rivera, who was then dictating for the Country.1
He “Dictated” me a long special message as to what he was trying to do with the country, and I used it in the Saturday Evening Post just as he gave it to me. He is the fellow that while the Ambassador and I and our Commercial Attache was in his office talking to him why he reached down in his office drawer and dragged out some of the best wine that was supposed to be Oh, Lord knows how old, he said it was. It was one of the best official touches of hospitality I run onto while over there. He looked like he was doing a pretty good job with the Country. But No, they must get rid of him, and they have never looked like anything since.
Now this King I also met and he seemed mighty able, and a good fellow.2 But Boy when they turn against you, all you have ever done don’t mean a thing. You can say what you please about “dictators” but when he is a good man it’s the best form of Government there is. It’s just like a business that’s run by one good man, the whole trouble with it is, you never know what will happen when the “Dictator” is dead or thrown out. Any one of our big men could take this country and run it fine, if he just dident have to mess with any Political machine, or a lot of red tape.
Now you take Mussolini. Lots of’em knock him, and say that’s a terrible form of Government. But you wait till he passes out and see what happens to that Country. Still he told me on that same trip that he was getting his system so well organized that it would carry on after his death. But I doubt that, for now he absolutely is doing what he thinks is best for his Country, and he has never even by his severest Critics been accused of doing anything for gain for himself. In fact he is a poor man. You know those fellows they got an awful lot of pride, and they want to go down as a big man, and he is really a big help to that Country. Course every Country thinks they need a different kind of Government. We think we must have Democracy and we get it too, right in the neck sometimes. But as bad as we are we seem to get by better than anybody else, outside of Switzerland.
There must be a smart little Country, they fight all around ’em, and all they do is just turn their necks to see which side they are fighting on. They sell to all sides, house and feed all sides, and still wind up without getting into it.
Since I got started in on all this foreign mess, which I don’t know any more about than you do, you know come to think of it nobody knows anything about any Country not even his own. The smartest Statesmen are the worst fooled when anything comes up right quick. I think a Country is harder to understand than a woman. There really ain’t anywhere where you can put your hand on a Country. Its heart is not at its Capitol as some think.
It’s not in its biggest Cities. It’s not in the Country. All at once some little something happens, and you hear what the Country has done, and nobody knows where it was done from or really who instigated. It’s a great kick to sit and hear somebody say, “Well I lived in France for years, I know what France will do. I know the heart of the real France.” Well the poor fellow is not purposely lying. He really thinks he does. Or somebody will sit and tell you what the Englishman will do under certain conditions. Nobody knows what anybody will do.
Every day brings new conditions, new ideas, new alighnements. Politicians don’t make up people’s minds like they used to. Pretty near every old Bird you meet is thinking for himself. This Radio, and more Newspapers, and Movie Weeklies, and all that have made one fellow think he is just as smart as the other one. He don’t want anybody coming along telling him what he ought to think.
Now they say France is just getting along better than anybody. Still after the war everybody that thought they knew France predicted that there was no way for them to come out of it. When we was all a-buying stock, and waiting till the next day to sell it at a Profit, not even asking what it paid if anything, why France was working. We was speculating off each other. We dident see how in the World anything could ever be lower in price than it was then. We was the smart Guys. “What a Sucker people are to work when they can get this easy dough.” That was our slogan.
Now we are bundling the Gold back to France and they are where we would have been if we hadent gone “Cuckoo.”
England is having their troubles for they always had a bunch that would never work, they was just bred not to work. Their Labor Government is having tough sledding, almost as bad as our efficiency Government is. It sure is a bad time for a man to get ambitious and want to get into Politics. There has never been a time when Public office was at such a low ebb, and maby not on account of the man in there as it is just general conditions. Sometimes its just a case of a good man in at a bad time. It’s like sending the first string in after the game is too far gone to do any good. There is nothing you can do but just try and keep the score down, that’s the way with a good man being elected to office nowadays. It’s just a case of try and relieve what little misery he can.
We got to get some other kind of distribution of money. The rich never had as much, and the poor as little. But we better not do anything about it till we see how the Russians turn out. They been pretty quiet the last couple of weeks. They are studying up some devilment to pull on the World. A Russian just loves misery, and he wants to get as many in on it as he can. He wants to share it among friends as well as foes.
Well the football season is over now, so maby we can start some foolishment of some kind. Hoover and the Senate have made up, so we will just sit around and wait for some other Calamity to happen.
1For Primo de Rivera see WA 339:N 5.
2For King Alfonso XIII see WA 369:N 3.